In 1951, his father died suddenly at his office. In 1952, he entered Hitotsubashi University, and graduated in 1956. Just two months before graduation, Shintarō won the Akutagawa Prize (Japan's most prestigious literary prize) for the novel . His brother Yujiro played a supporting role in the screen adaptation of the novel, and the two soon became the center of a youth-oriented cult.
In the early 1960s, he concentrated on writing, including plays, novels, and a musical version of Treasure Island. He was involved in directing, ran a theater company, traveled to the North Pole, raced his own yacht, and crossed South America on a motorcycle. From 1967 to 1968, he covered the Vietnam War as a reporter for the Yomiuri Shimbun.
One of his later novels, Lost Country (1982), speculated about Japan under the control of the Soviet Union.
As a Diet member, Ishihara was often critical of the LDP. In 1973, he joined with thirty other LDP lawmakers in the anti-communist Seirankai or "Blue Storm Group"; the group gained notoriety in the media for sealing a pledge of unity in their own blood.
Ishihara ran for Governor of Tokyo in 1975 but lost to the popular Socialist incumbent Ryokichi Minobe. He returned to the House of Representatives afterward, and worked his way up the party's internal ladder, serving as Director-General of the Environment Agency under Takeo Fukuda (1976) and Minister of Transport under Noboru Takeshita (1989). During the 1980s, Ishihara was a highly visible and popular LDP figure, but unable to win enough internal support to form a true faction and move up the national political ladder.
In 1989, shortly after losing a highly contested race for the party presidency, Ishihara came to the attention of the West through his book, , co-authored with then-Sony chairman Akio Morita. The book called on his fellow countrymen to stand up to the United States.
Ishihara dropped out of national politics in 1995, ending a 25-year career in the Diet. In 1999, he ran on an independent platform and was elected governor of Tokyo.
Translation in English
Among Ishihara's moves as governor, he:
Ishihara has also long been critical of the PRC government. He invited the Dalai Lama and the President of the Republic of China Lee Teng-hui to Tokyo, which agitated the government of the People's Republic of China. Ishihara is deeply interested in the North Korean abduction issue, and is calling for economic sanctions against North Korea. Following Ishihara's campaign to bid Tokyo for the 2016 Summer Olympics, he has since eased his criticism of the Chinese government. He accepted an invitation to attend the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and was selected as a torch-bearer for the Japan leg of the 2008 Olympic Torch Relay.
On April 9, 2000, in a speech before a Self-Defense Forces group, Ishihara publicly stated that atrocious crimes have been committed repeatedly by illegally entered sangokujin (Japanese: 三国人 (third country national); a term commonly viewed as derogatory) and foreigners, and speculated that in the event a natural disaster struck the Tokyo area, they would be likely to cause civil disorder. His comment invoked calls for his resignation, demands for an apology and fears among residents of Korean descent in Japan. Regarding this statement, Ishihara later said:
Much of the criticism of this statement involved the historical significance of the term: sangokujin historically referred to ethnic Chinese and Koreans, working in Japan, several thousand of whom were killed by mobs of Japanese people following the Great Kantō earthquake of 1923.
On February 20, 2006, Ishihara also said: "Roppongi is now virtually a foreign neighborhood. Africans — I don't mean African-Americans — who don't speak English are there doing who knows what. This is leading to new forms of crime such as car theft. We should be letting in people who are intelligent.
In 1990, Ishihara stated in a Playboy interview that the Rape of Nanking was a fiction, claiming, "People say that the Japanese made a holocaust but that is not true. It is a story made up by the Chinese. It has tarnished the image of Japan, but it is a lie. He continued to defend this statement in the uproar that ensued. He has also backed the film The Truth about Nanjing, which argues that the Nanking Massacre was propaganda.
Ishihara stated in a 2001 interview with women's magazine Shukan Josei that he subscribed to a theory that "old women who live after they have lost their reproductive function are useless and are committing a sin," adding that he "couldn't say this as a politician." He was criticized in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly for these comments, but responded that the criticism was driven by "tyrant" "old women.
During an inauguration of a university building in 2004, Ishihara stated that French is unqualified as an international language because it is "a language in which nobody can count," referring to the counting system in French, which he believed to be based on units of twenty rather than ten (as is the case in Japanese and English). The statement led to a lawsuit from several language schools in 2005. Ishihara subsequently responded to comments that he did not disrespect French culture by professing his love of French literature on Japanese TV news.
Three Marriages. Now Roving Deputy Lord Provost Dumps Labour and Jumps into Bed with SNP; Jetsetting Festival Tsar Who Wed Ex-Soviet Bloc Beauties Defects to Rivals
Oct 26, 2005; Byline: JONATHAN BROCKLEBANK HE is a politician not unused to sudden changes of allegiance - his three ex-wives are testament to...